Ezekiel 3:22 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
22. the hand of the Lord ] A trance or ecstasy from the Lord. It is probable that the prophet’s retiring to the “valley” was merely transacted in vision. He felt himself transported away from the presence of men to some lonely retreat, and there the glory of the Lord seemed again to stand before him (cf. ch. Eze 8:1-3).
into the plain ] R.V. marg. the valley. This is scarcely a general term, meaning the plain country in opposition to Tel-Abib, where the exiles dwelt; some particular place in the neighbourhood called the “valley” is meant. According to Eze 3:23 the place was not identical with the other by the river Chebar, where the Vision of God first appeared to the prophet. Cf. ch. Eze 37:1 seq.
Ch. Eze 3:22-27. The prophet abandons public exercise of his ministry
The verses form the preface to ch. 4 24, all the prophecies that bear upon the fate of Jerusalem and its inhabitants, up to its fall. The prophet under the “hand” of God goes out into the “valley,” and the same Theophany appears to him as at the first by the river Chebar. He is in communication with the same great God, and all his actions are determined by his commands. According to the interpretation put upon ch. Eze 1:1 to Eze 3:21 above, he had exercised his office of watchman among the people, speaking to them publicly in the name of the Lord, for some time. Possibly the time was not very long, for this passage comes in under the same general date as all that preceded it. His ministry had met with resistance, the people would not hear, as he had anticipated. A public ministry among them was fruitless; the burden of his preaching to them was distasteful. He warned them against their idolatries, from which they would not turn; and foretold the downfall of their city and country, a thing which they heard with an incredulous ear and would have none of. Therefore the prophet feels instructed of God to cease to be a public “reprover” ( Eze 3:26) for a time. The people refuse to believe his words when he speaks of the downfall of their beloved city, they will be constrained to believe events when they happen; and then the prophet, his word being confirmed, will speak with boldness, his mouth will be opened, and he will be able to impress upon more ready listeners the lessons of God’s righteous providence. His silence meantime is not an absolute one, it is only a change of method; but this so-called silence continues till the actual destruction of the city. In ch. Eze 24:27, it is said, “in that day (when tidings come of the city’s fall) shall thy mouth be opened and thou shalt speak and be no more dumb, and they shall know that I am the Lord;” and in ch. Eze 33:21 seq., when those that escaped came bringing tidings, saying, the city is fallen, it is said: “then my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb.” No motive is assigned for the change in his prophetic method, beyond the unwillingness of the people to listen, “for they are a rebellious house” ( Eze 3:26). At the same time as a prophet of the restoration with its new principles (ch. 18, 33), a watchman appointed to speak no more to the state but to individual men, his ministry proper could not commence till the state had fallen. See note on ch. Eze 3:17.
The second section of the Book contains these parts:
(1) Ch. Eze 3:22-27. A preface in which the prophet is commanded to confine himself to his own house, and abandon for a time his public ministry.
(2) Ch. Eze 4:1-4. A series of symbols representing the siege of Jerusalem, the scarcity during it, the pollution of the people in exile among the nations, and the terrible fate of the inhabitants on the capture of the city.
(3) Ch. Eze 5:5-17. Exposition of these symbols.
(4) Ch. 6. Prophecy against the mountains of Israel, the seats of Idolatry.
(5) Ch. 7. Dirge over the downfall of the state.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".